Paul Smith X Mini Strip : Beyond Conventional
“For me, the MINI STRIP shows in an impressive way that MINI, and Paul Smith share the same bold way of thinking about the future in terms of innovation and design – and together we create more. Paul asked essential questions right at the start of the design process with his non-automotive and therefore fresh perspective. We are proud to have developed such a strong character statement together.”Oliver Heilmer, Head of Design, Mini
MINI is a brand that leads towards future design, sets strong sensations, blends emotional expression and ecological sustainability and places people at the core of its product creation.
The Mini Strip is a result of partnership between Paul Smith and MINI, which has allowed the two renowned British companies to share innovative views on sustainable design in the last several months. The MINI STRIP emphasises a completely different approach to car production sustainability. As the title indicates, a 3 door MINI Cooper SE is totally removed and reduced to its structural core. Only those features were identified, developed, and installed that the designer considered absolutely required, and this way sustainability took its front seat.
Source of Inspiration
MINI has always been sensitive to perspectives outside of its world, which is helping the brand to enhance its outlook and how it addresses the obstacles. As a bicycle-passionate designer, Paul Smith raised questions that brought fresh motivation to go beyond conventional.
The collaborative approach used a minimalistic, high-class structure with a new and unusual idea of maximum reductions. Many innovative tweaks give the MINI Cooper SE’s bodywork a completely distinctive appearance. Raw material is a very purposeful external design component which indicates that the body had not been coated with colour but only a thin, translucent coating is applied to safeguard it from rusting. This purposely unpleasant aesthetic was also referred to by Paul Smith as the “perfect imperfection.”.
The black band sections of the MINI are 3D-printed from plastic, while the metal panels were left exposed. The removable screws were inspired by the simple way to modify a car’s components. With the white-off radiator grille and wheel covers of the MINI STRIP, the drag is reduced in the most unique form of the electric car, therefore improving its possible range. The grille trim and aerodynamic wheel pads are built of recycled Perspex which saves both body weight.
For a wide panoramic roof, recycled Perspex was also designed to allow interested eyes to see the mainly barely clothed body structure within. The opening of the doors reveals the iconic Paul Smith stripes in a vibrant color composition. The charging flap features an engraved drawing of an electric plug.
The MINI STRIP succeeded in portraying ‘Simplicity and Transparency’ in the interior of the vehicle. Except for the dashboard, the top pad, and the plot shelf all cosmetic elements were carefully removed, making the skeleton the dominating aspect of the interior. On the special request of Paul Smith, the interior was colored blue and thus it produced a very striking impact. The uncovered fundamental material and vivid blue tone provides an aesthetic attraction for the interior.
The dashboard panel comprises just a big and semi-transparent portion with a smoked glass finish, instead of the conventional multi-piece design. If we consider the typical usage of ring components by MINI, the geometry with a considerably greater graphic interpretation has been significantly simplified. Below the centre console are the only physical controls, where you can find the toggles for the power windows and the starting/stopping function.
The steering wheel, which is the central element in the cabin, has been simplified to even the most important activities. The rims of it were covered in real road-bike style with handlebar tape. Also the panels in the door are composed of the same mesh covering the airbag. Behind the mesh panels which are kept in a frame, the door construction can be plainly seen. To provide another depth to the interior look, the transparentness in the knitted mesh changes with the angle of view and it looks very beautiful
With the minimalistic geometric design inside the Mini you can see environmentally friendly materials inside which underlines the sustainability of the vehicle. The seat of the car is made of fabric and there is no use of leather and chrome inside the vehicle. One of the most interesting things are the pad on the top of the dashboard, the door shoulders stores end plot shelf is very simple and made of recycled cork. Due to the recyclability of cork and its renewable natural material, there is a possibility for the reduction of greenhouse emissions in cork. One of the most interesting facts is that they are both open-pore substances that improve the interior acoustics.
Form follows in every inventive element included in the MINI STRIP function. The fundamental elements which include simplicity, transparency and sustainability of the design, shine throughout all aspects of the automobile. This allowed the MINI STRIP to transform MINI’s Innovative Use of Space into a substantial and dramatic reorganisation of the MINI, particularly inside. As such, it can serve as a catalyst for more sustainable automobile design usage of resources.\